Lunch at the Farm Kitchen, July 16

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Winter lunches at our Mandagery Creek Venison Farm Kitchen are my favourite – there seems to be a heightened sense of conviviality at our long table, the fire creates extra atmosphere (of course) and our guests always seem extra excited to come in from the cold and share a meal with us.

And so it was on June 11 when opened the farm up for lunch on a particularly cold, misty day. They were a wonderful group, definitely one of the most enthusiastic we’ve ever welcomed onto the farm. Here below are some recipes and photos of the day we shared together.

If you are interested in coming along to lunch at the farm one day, our next event is July 9 and we have eight spots still available, you can book online via our little e-shop. Thanks and hope to see you soon!

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Farm Kitchen Saturday June 11

Parsnip and pear soup with walnuts/
Shredded osso buco with braised caraway cabbage and an apple relish/
Chargrilled Mandagery Creek Venison backstrap with apple jelly and verjus sauce/
Creamy pumpkin polenta/
Brussels sprout, fennel, walnut and bacon salad/
Roasted carrots and beetroot with yogurt, hazlenuts and harissa/
Warm chocolate almond torte with poached quinces and salted toffee ice cream/

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You might note that the tables and Farm Kitchen herself are looking a bit spiffy in these pictures and this is all thanks to the gorgeous and clever Harriet of Tipi Interiors. Didn’t she ever do a great job styling and setting the tables and surrounds! Thank you so much Haddy. If anyone ‘out there’ is looking for an event stylist in the Central West then get in touch, she’s a real goer, hard working and super stylish. Really looking forward to many more collaborations together.

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Shredded osso buco

This is a lighter version of the red-wine/tomato based osso buco that I usually make and was really delicious on that creamy cabbage base topped with tart apple and mint relish. Serves 4-6.

1kg osso buco (in this case venison!)
2 brown onions, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, diced
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 thyme stalks

Preheat oven to 150C. Dust the osso buco pieces in the flour and heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan and over medium-high heat. Brown the osso buco on both sides and set aside in a deep-sided roasting dish. Reduce heat under the pan and add a little more olive oil. Now add the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low, stirring often. Pour in the wine and let cook, so the wine reduces for about five more minutes. Pour in the stock and add the herbs. Bring mixture to the boil and cook for ten minutes.

Pour the braising liquid over the osso buco, cover the roasting tin tightly with foil and place in the oven for three hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the meat from the roasting tray and strain the liquid. Pour the vegetables over the meat and the liquid into a saucepan on high. Cook for 15 minutes so it reduces and intensifies in flavour.

When ready to serve, shred the osso buco from the bone into a bowl, pour over the reduced liquid and stir well. Reheat if necessary and serve with the cabbage and apple relish.

Apple and mint relish
This little garnish is the perfect freshener for such a rich dish. Simply cut a Granny Smith apple into matchsticks and toss with finely chopped mint. Done!

Braised carraway cabbage

A lovely little base for rich meat dishes like the osso buco here; this cabbage is also wonderful with slow-cooked pork and is a nice alternative to mashed potato, polenta and other more starchy options. Serves 4.

30g butter
1/2 savoy cabbage, thinly shredded
2 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 cup pouring cream
Juice of one lemon

Melt the butter in the base of a heavy-based saucepan, add the cabbage, apple and carraway and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring halfway through, for 40 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cream, lemon and season to taste.

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Roasted carrots and beetroot with yogurt, hazlenuts and harissa

This is an insanely tasty dish that’s a great side dish but also brilliant on its own with some warm Turkish bread or tossed greens. Big flavours, easy to put together and using some nice solid seasonal veg to great appeal – yes please.

6 carrots
4 beetroot
2 tbsp harissa (to taste)
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups Greek-style natural yogurt
1/4 cup dried rose petals
1/4 cup hazlenuts, roasted and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 200C. Peel and slice the carrots and beetroot (or don’t bother peeling – I don’t usually and the results are just as good if not way easier), and cut into quarters (lengthways for the carrots). Arrange on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and a little honey and roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to caramelise at the edges.

For the harissa dressing; whisk together the harissa, lemon juice and zest and olive oil and season to taste. Maybe start with just one tbsp harissa and add more to taste – some brands are stronger than others!

To serve, spread the base of a nice big platter or bowl with the yogurt, top with the carrots and beetroot and then drizzle over the dressing. Finish with the hazlenuts and rose petals and serve. YUM. I said YUUUUUUUM.

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Chargrilled venison with apple jelly and verjus sauce

We always seem to serve our venison like this for mains at the Farm Kitchen. And the reason is simple – it is (in our opinion) the very best way to taste our beautiful, tender meat. Plus, it’s a super easy way to cook it and we love showing everyone just how simple it is to cook venison to perfection. So basically we just heat our barbecue up to high and bring a couple of fillets to room temperature then rub with olive oil and season generously. We cook the striploins (about 1kg each) for 5 minutes on one side and ** on the other then let them rest before slicing across the grain into 1.5cm thick pieces.

For the apple jelly and verjus sauce, I just tipped about 1/2 cup of jelly I’d made in Autumn into a frying pan, added 1/2 cup verjus and stirred to combine then reduced the heat and let the mixture cook and reduce down into a super tasty, sweet little sauce.

Pumpkin and parmesan polenta

I love this rich, wintery take on your basic polenta – the mellow flavours of the roasted pumpkin are a winner with the char-grilled venison. Swap with sweet potato if you so desire. Please give this one a try, it’s a really handy winter side-dish for any roast or grilled meat. It’s also great on it’s own with a sprinkling of feta cheese, some rocket and roughly c chopped nuts – this is a standard lunch for me these days and I love it! Makes about 4 cups.

3 cups pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups polenta
75g butter, cubed
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180C and place the pumpkin, on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Bring water to the boil, salt generously and whisk in the polenta in a thin steady stream. Cook over a low heat, stirring almost continuously for 30 minutes or until the polenta is thick and smooth. Turn off the heat, stir through the pureed pumpkin, butter and cheese and season to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve (I do this in my slow-cooker which means the polenta can be prepared hours in advance and if kept on low, it keeps cooking very gently and seems to fluff the polenta up quite beautifully).

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Leftovers like this are my favourite – tender, pink venison strips with a little salt and freshly grated horseradish grated atop. They did not last long.

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I’m sorry to say that I have no decent photos of dessert, at this point in proceedings, the camera had been forgotten and our guests had poured us a glass of really beautiful sparkling wine and that, plus the mountain of washing up we faced was diverting all attention from photography. I wish I had though, because it was really yummy. In any case, here are the recipes!

The flourless chocolate cake recipe I use here comes from Emiko Davies blog and she was inspired by the classic one from Elizabeth David. If you don’t have it already safely stashed in the favourites section of your own recipe collection – give it one go and you will!

Salted toffee ice cream

For the salted toffee
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt,

Brush a baking tray with light oil (canola or vegetable is best) and place the sugar in an even layer in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan around so the sugar dissolves evenly, and cook like this until the sugar has completely melted into a dark toffee. Sprinkle in the salt and swirl one more time before tipping the toffee out over the baking tray. Let cool and harden.

For the ice cream

1 cup milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
2 cups cream

Place the milk, sugar and vanilla into a saucepan over medium heat and bring just to boiling point. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for one hour. Whisk the egg yolks together until pale. Return the milk to a gentle heat until warm. Pour a little of the milk into the yolks and whisk to combine, gradually add remaining milk to the eggs and whisk again. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and return it once more to the stovetop. Again over a gentle heat. Cook, stirring regularly for about five minutes or until the custard has thickened.
Remove from heat, stir through the cream and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers’ instructions. Towards the end of the ‘churning’ time, break up the toffee and add to the ice cream so it is mixed through. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour into a container, cover and place in the freezer for one hour. Remove and whisk to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process four times until frozen.

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  1. Sian Therese says

    This looks divine! I can’t wait to try the polenta especially. And flourless chocolate cake, my favourite!

  2. Hellen Pietsch says

    June 11 a lucky day for family and friends to be part of your day. Absolutely amazing, the atmosphere, the food and the fun! Who could ask for a more pleasant way to spend a long lunch. The food was unreal and so different and wonderful, every mouthful a taste sensation. I am sure we will be back, along with more family and friends to show you all off.

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